Although I now live in the West Country of England, I was born and brought up in Guildford Surrey, and still consider that home. There was always a magical feel about Guildford, the cobbled historical High Street with the Rotary Club playing music, usually outside W H Smiths and collecting for local charities, The shops full of Christmas decorations and music and the temperature fresh and cold, but not like the weather of late, where the temperature has been well below freezing, not typical for the UK.
In the last 10 years or so the world of retail therapy has changed beyond recognition. I am pondering back to the days when shops closed at 5 or 6pm apart from perhaps local deli's and corner shops and the only other shops open into the evening were DIY stores and supermarkets and those were open late until 7 or 8pm. In the run up to Christmas the shops would open on Sundays and even the post was delivered on a Sunday too for the few sundays preceding Christmas. Now we live in a world when you can do your grocery shopping in the early hours and shop online. I wonder what previous generations would make of that? The shops being open on a Sunday back then had a magical feel to it, and somehow in this world of technology we have lost some of the Christmas magic.
On Christmas Eve we always attended Midnight Mass at Holy Trinity Church, an impressive church situated at the top of the High Street. We did not live in Holy Trinity parish, but in St Nicholas, but always attended at Holy Trinity. It wasn't until I started researching my own family history that I established that we had links to the parish that start with my Several times Great Grandfather George Ellis born in 1811 in Holy Trinity parish.
Having now moved to the South West I do not feel that same enthusiasm to go to the local church for the midnight mass and very often we are well in bed before the magical hour.